80 for Brady
MOVIE | Love for football quarterback Tom Brady leads an elderly foursome into high jinks in this forgettable, slapstick comedy
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➤ Rated PG-13
Four Hollywood icons from yesteryear hope to lure older audiences back to theaters with 80 for Brady. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field star in this girls’-trip-meets-sports movie. But while these legends bring their A-game, the script fumbles the ball.
80 for Brady follows the misadventures of an atypical group of football fans—four elderly ladies who love Tom Brady. There’s Maura (Moreno), the queen of her retirement home; Trish (Fonda), who’s looking for love; Betty (Field), a retired mathematician who reminds everyone she’s still in her 70s; and Lou (Tomlin), the group’s “quarterback” who started their obsession with the Patriots’ star.
This Tom Brady fan club realizes they’re not getting any younger, so they embark on the trip of a lifetime, traveling to Houston to watch the Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons in 2017’s Super Bowl LI. But the road to victory isn’t without speed bumps, and finding a way into the stadium without tickets is only one of their problems.
Like its stars, 80 for Brady is a bit of a throwback, hearkening to the comedies of the 1970s and ’80s when most of the cast members were in their prime. Each of the ladies has her own quirks, giving the film an “odd foursome” quality. And despite the actresses’ advanced age, the movie contains a fair amount of slapstick. We also get a few cameos from second- and third-tier celebrities.
But these venerable stars—especially Moreno, who steals the show—deserve a much better script than this one. Instead of weaving the action into a cohesive narrative, the film offers episodic high jinks. The film has amusing bits, but the story doesn’t build. The gang gets into trouble, gets out of trouble easily, and then gets into trouble again—repeat six or seven times. Many of the scenes—especially the one in which these golden girls accidentally take illegal drugs—are lazily written.
Character development follows tired clichés, too. Each elderly lady on this trip of a lifetime must learn what it means to live again. Cue the inspiring music. Trish, who writes steamy romance novels featuring tight end Rob Gronkowski, learns she needs more self-respect. Mousy Betty learns to live her own life instead of her husband’s. Maura learns to overcome the loneliness she feels after her husband’s death. And Lou, who lives in the shadow of a cancer scare, learns if you want something in life, you have to make it happen—a lesson taught by Tom Brady himself.
There’s some fun here, but by the end of its 98 minutes, 80 for Brady comes across as a vanity project for Tom Brady, whose production company made the film. No touchdown here.
Highest-grossing Lily Tomlin movies
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / 2018
- 9 to 5 / 1980
- Disney’s The Kid / 2000
- The Beverly Hillbillies / 1993
- Orange County / 2002
- Big Business / 1988
- The Pink Panther 2 / 2009
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